Magical Herbalism – Gathering Plants for Ceremony

I am a witch of the wild, a seeker of the wise-woman ways, the Goddess traditions and the magic of shamanism. 

One of my favorite ways to practice these teachings is to walk through a forest, go into the desert or stroll alongside the ocean to meet with the plant spirits that reside there. I ask them for wisdom, blessings and guidance…and also to receive their leaves, twigs, branches, flowers, seeds, and such, that I will use later to craft magical tinctures, incense, and oils. Learning to ‘wild forage’ for magical plants is one of the most rewarding pleasures of being a wild witch, and it is something that anyone can do, wherever they are in the world.

In preparation for my offering, THE WILD WITCH; a course in magical plant spirit herbalism, I am frequently walking out in nature, collecting special flowers, woods and such to share with my students.

Once I see a plant that I wish to receive from, I place my hands around one of its blossoms, leaves, branches or roots and then send as much love as I can from my heart to the spirit of the plant. I then ask for permission to forage, or collect from it. Once I receive this permission – which feels like a subtle knowing, a sense of ‘yes’ or a feeling of love coming from the plant, I then tenderly touch each part before removing it, and ask the spirit of the plant to recede so that I will not be causing harm by separating it from the whole. The wisdom of the plant will always know how much of its own spirit to ‘leave’ in the foraged part for you to receive, but if you pluck a leaf or bloom without communicating that you are about to do this, you may surprise the plant before it has had a chance to collect itself.

The Wild Witch Purple Sage Renee Starr

After foraging ethically, which means that I do not take too much, and I do not take from younger parts of the plants and I do not cause harm to the plant such as ripping bark from trunks of trees, or stripping away all leaves from stems, etc., I make an offering in return for the gifts that the plant has given to me. This offering can be water, blue cornmeal, sea salt, or even a strand of my hair – which is my favorite form of offering. A piece of my body, offered for having received a piece of the plant’s body feels like a very special, and very sacred exchange.

When I am home, I put the leaves, flowers and other parts in special wooden bowls used for ritual and ceremony. I marvel at its beauty and thank the plant again for its gifts. Then I begin to sort out the plant material, removing bugs and dirt, returning them gently to the land and begin to prepare the material for drying.

In this post, you will see two of my ritual bowls made from Willow and Sycamore wood, filled with the gorgeous, aromatic blooms and leaves from the Salvia Clevelandii, or Purple Sage plant being readied for purification bath salts, and also the divinely hued purple blossoms of the Jacaranda Tree, which will be used for casting moon spells.

I hope that you will join me in THE WILD WITCH; a course in magical plant spirit herbalism to learn more of this ancient, mystical and magical craft!

About Renee Starr

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